I once read that Advent is the “season that teaches us to wait for what is beyond the obvious.” Beyond the obvious is God entering the world as flesh and dwelling among us. And this world-changing event is announced with jubilation: “I am bringing you good news of great joy.”
But if I am honest with you, sometimes that joy can be hard to find during the Christmas season. Am I the only one who comes to end of the Advent season exhausted and sensing that I have missed it? Instead of finding that peace which is promised, there are endless lists of gifts to buy and too many bills to pay. An overwhelming stress overtakes worship and celebration.
I hope this Advent season we will look at Christmas in a different way as we each choose to participate in the Advent Conspiracy. This a movement that was founded on the radical idea that we can celebrate Christmas humbly, beautifully, and generously. Advent is the story of a wondrous moment when God entered our world to make things right. It is the greatest story ever told, and it changes everything – including the way we celebrate Christmas.
The Advent Conspiracy consists of four simple but powerful countercultural concepts:
Worship Fully — Nearly every character in the Christmas story who encountered our King responded the same way: worship. Let’s make the conscious effort to reorient our hearts toward Christ. Christmas began with worship … may it end with worship.
Spend Less — In our hearts, we know mindless consumption is not the way to celebrate Jesus. But spending less does not mean spending nothing. Rather, we will thoughtfully evaluate which companies and causes we support through our purchases.
Give More — The best gifts celebrate a relationship. They require our time and our energy. Relational giving means that we think about the other person – who that person is and what that person cares about. When it comes to giving gifts to those you love, it’s all about quality, not quantity.
Love All — Christmas is a chance to move closer to those in crisis. We will love others as Jesus has loved us. The poor and hurting of our world can be reached by God through the way we choose to celebrate Christmas.
As we worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all…something begins to happen that is greater than any single person, church, or denomination. And maybe this Christmas can still change the world.